AmCham Discusses Further Steps of Judicial Reform with Deputy Prime Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva

AmCham held a meeting with Ekaterina Zaharieva, deputy prime minister for judicial reform and minister of foreign affairs on July 14, 2017 as a result of the joint position statement of eight bilateral chambers on the rule of law and judicial reform which was submitted to the Government, the Parliament, and the Presidency on June 28, 2017. The main topics of discussion were: the status of judicial reform that is not completed and should continue, and the upcoming legislative amendments.

Zaharieva highly appreciated that judicial reform is a priority for the bilateral chambers and expressed belief that the Ministry of Justice will further consult business at the earliest stage of legislative initiatives. The recommendation of the EU prosecutors for the Bulgarian prosecution office (under the auspices of the Structural Reform Support Service of the European Commission released on 20 December 2016) is prosecutors to be outside of the executive branch of government to the judiciary. In Bulgaria, the lack of control and accountability at the Prosecution Office is problematic.

The participants in the meeting further discussed the upcoming amendments of the Criminal Procedure Code. A draft act for amendment and supplement of the Code will be ready in September 2017 and will be published for public consultation. The possibility for investigation on the Prosecutor should be introduced with amendments of the Criminal Procedure Code, the participants agreed.